American Stories

Collecting la fiesta de quince años

Light pink and very full, the organza and tulle gown took up a major portion of the sofa. Beside it, Natalia had placed her glittery high heels, a rhinestone tiara, and a bouquet of artificial flowers. As a curator of costume and clothing at the National Museum of American History, I was thrilled; after years of searching, the museum had found a wonderful quinceañera gown for the national collection. It was one of the principal objects on my collection wish list!

While the Ruby Slippers step out, two swashbuckling props step in

"I'm sorry. The Ruby Slippers aren't on display right now."

It's something that we here at the museum are preparing ourselves to have to say to the many visitors who come every year seeking the famous shoes from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. We're bracing ourselves to be the bearers of bad news, but we know that it's all for a good cause.

Star Wars: The Force is strong with this museum

Please note that the droids you are looking for are not currently on display at the museum as of December 2016. 

Since its debut in 1977, Star Wars has become a popular cultural force. The Star Wars universe will expand on December 18 with the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, proof of the strong and lasting impact of this sci-fi epic.

Miss Piggy Joins Kermit the Frog at the Smithsonian

The National Museum of American History received a new donation of more than 20 Jim Henson puppets and props on the anniversary of his birthday—Sept. 24, 1936—from the Henson family. Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, Bert and Elmo from Sesame Street, and Red Fraggle and Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock are among the new additions. They will join the museum’s current Jim Henson Collection, which includes Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog and the cast of Sam and Friends.

Something WICKED This Way Comes


A special performance from the award-winning musical WICKED marks the donation and display of Elphaba costume at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Monday, Dec. 17
11:15 a.m. (Camera setup begins at 11 a.m.)

Flag Hall
National Museum of American History
14th Street and Madison Drive

National Museum of American History Continues Transformation with West Exhibition Wing Plans

The west wing exhibition spaces of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History are about to undergo an extensive $37 million renovation beginning this month. The construction work on the 127,000-square-foot space will be completed by Grunley Construction Company Inc. of Rockville, Md. The Philadelphia-based architectural firm EwingCole prepared the design and engineering plans for the museum. During the estimated two-and-a-half-year construction project, the center core and east wing of the museum will remain open.

Smithsonian Ruby Slippers Depart for London's Victoria and Albert Museum on Loan to New "Hollywood Costume" Exhibition

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will loan its pair of the famous Ruby Slippers Judy Garland wore in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz for six weeks. The slippers will reunite with Dorothy’s blue-and-white gingham pinafore dress in a new exhibition called “Hollywood Costume” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London opening Oct. 20. This is the first time the slippers have travelled to Europe and the first time Garland’s dress and shoes have been reunited since filming completed in 1938.

American Stories

Take a journey through time and discover both well-known and less-familiar stories about the American experience in the Museum’s newest signature exhibition: American Stories. In 5,300 square feet, American Stories features an engaging mix of artifacts from the Museum’s vast holdings to tell stories about the country’s history. Through more than 100 objects, visitors can follow a chronology that spans the Pilgrims’ 1620 arrival in Plymouth, Massachusetts, through the 2008 presidential election.

“American Stories” Exhibition Opens at National Museum of American History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will open a signature exhibition, “American Stories,” April 12 that takes visitors on a journey through time by telling both well- and little-known stories about the American experience.

Statement on Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport Jacket for Exhibition at the National Museum of American History

The leather jacket Bob Dylan wore during his 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island will be on loan to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for its upcoming exhibition, “American Stories.” Opening April 5, the exhibition will showcase historical and cultural touchstones of American history through more than 100 objects from the museum’s vast holdings, supplemented with a few loans.